“I am simply a European vice champion”
Interview with Greta Vardanyan.
Although Greta will be weightlifting at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, she has already managed to put her strengths to the test in a number of other sports as well. This is the story of Greta or Lala, as her family and relatives call her. Eritasard.am: How and why did you start weightlifting? Greta: I have been playing sports since 1993, but I started as a professional in 2002. At first, I was a mountain skier and always attended camps in Tsakhkadzor in the winter and Sevan in the summer. The head of our organization saw my potential and the strength inside of me. From 2002 to 2005, I have been in the United States and have participated in the annual “ELEN” marathon. In 2006, I participated in the Winter Olympiad in Turin, Italy. True, I wasn’t that successful, but I was in the top ten. In 2005, I immediately changed my sport. I have loved all of the above mentioned sports, but weightlifting turned into my career and a way to earn a living. I love that sport and I put in more effort. Eritasard.am: You are a psychologist by profession. Greta: There has to be a psychologist inside of you in order to understand others. After graduating from school, I got accepted to the Faculty of Psychology at the Pedagogical Institute after Mikayel Nalbandyan. Psychology helps you apply even what you learn in your daily life and help as many people as you can. I am willing to help people with my psychological advice. Eritasard.am: Who has been that psychologist for you? Greta: I have trusted people in my life and have always been open with everyone. But then I realized that whoever I trusted and shared with…to make a long story short, there is nobody like that now. Based on my experience, I can’t trust people. I think my daughter will become that person for me later. Eritasard.am: When you started a family, didn’t you stand at the crossroads of sports and family? While studying, I managed to go to class, work and represent Armenia abroad and it was difficult. In 2006, my personal life changed and the way it worked out was that I became my future husband’s personal psychologist and then we fell in love. One time when I was coming from Gyumri to Yerevan, I received an SMS and it was a love confession. We got married and our daughter Ofelia was born two years ago. Eritasard.am: Didn’t that period distract you from sports? Greta: My daughter could have been born earlier, but…the fact remains that no husband likes his wife to be out of the house for the most part of the day and especially be involved in weightlifting. But then my husband understood my situation and we solved that problem. Now my greatest objective is to bring home a medal from the Olympiad to provide a good life for my family. Eritasard.am: Before London and earning a lot of money, how are you taking care of your training expenses? Greta: Before participating in the European championship in Greece, I trained at the Militosyan gym in Israel and scored a silver medal. Now I have changed my gym due to financial difficulties. I pay my trainer 30,000 drams a month. I also need to pay my taxi driver 12,000 drams a month and another 12,000 drams for the gym. “Pyunik” union has tried to find sponsors, but that is also a complicated issue. I would really like to meet with Gagik Tsarukyan. I think a lot will change after that. Eritasard.am: Which is your biggest goal right now? Greta: There are athletes who say the important thing for them is to score a medal at the Olympiad and perhaps some have something to prove. In my case, that medal may turn my life around. At the moment, I also have to think about my family. We are living in a home with 14 people and even keeping a roof above our heads is important to me. Eritasardam: Would you like your daughter to be a weightlifter as well? Greta: No, I wouldn’t. I have seen the difficulties, gone through trials and tribulations and done a lot of weightlifting. Not everyone can be involved in weightlifting. It is not just something to show off. I am simply a European vice champion. When I came home with the medal from Greece, something changed inside of me at the airport. Seeing the smiles on the faces of my family, friends, acquaintances and average citizens made me feel proud. Now when I work so hard, I work to make sure my child doesn’t see the difficulties that I have seen. Eritasard.am: How long do you think you will be in sports? Greta: I already mentioned that my husband was against it. Before each competition, I used to tell him that it would be the last one, but I kept reaching greater heights and it continued that way. I would really like to continue as long as I have the strength. But I think I will participate in one more competition after the Olympic Games and then it will be over…maybe. Tsovinar Karapetyan